Wikipedia:Protecting children's privacy

Wikipedia is a free and open encyclopedia that can be accessed, read, and edited by any user who wishes to do so, and without discrimination, based on one's age, gender, location, ethnicity, country of origin, religious, political and ideological beliefs or practices, education level, or income level. Because of Wikipedia's principle of free and open access by anyone, including children, volunteer editors and trusted members of the community try to take measures and actions necessary to assure that all of Wikipedia's young readers and editors are provided a welcome and safe environment on Wikipedia and kept safe from online harassment or stalking, inappropriate or uncomfortable interactions with adults, and other forms of online harm. Reasonable measures which prevent and stop potential problems associated with the use and editing of Wikipedia by children are appropriate and usually necessary. This essay provides a general summary of these appropriate measures and actions taken, how to handle and report instances where a child's personal information or online safety is at risk, and links to Wikipedia pages and resources for parents and editors regarding child online safety and privacy.


All users, including children, are permitted to edit Wikipedia anonymously and without creating an account. All users are also permitted (and encouraged) to edit Wikipedia without disclosing or adding any kind of personal or identifying information about themselves anywhere on the project. Reasonable efforts to discourage children from disclosing any kind of personal identifying information about themselves on Wikipedia, as well as keep any self-disclosed personal identifiable information they published about themselves removed, reported, and hidden from view are appropriate.

When a user self-identifies as a child, especially if they provide personal information, the matter has been a subject of discussion among administrators in the past. Such personal identifiable information include but aren't limited to: the child's date of birth, first and last name, current age, relative or family information, the location (including the country, state, province, city, county, or district) in which they currently live or have previously lived, their current school and grade level, email address, phone number, home address, or the address of a location they attend or visit regularly. This information, if self-disclosed on Wikipedia, risk aiding other editors in identifying the child, finding them on other websites and pages on the internet (such as social media profiles and pages), and using the information on those websites and pages to find more personal or private information about them.[1]


Reasonable measures which prevent and stop potential problems associated with the use and editing of Wikipedia by children, and the interactions between children and adult predators are appropriate, and are implemented as consistently as possible and with the level of action taken necessary in order to protect and maintain the safety, privacy, and identity of children.

Editors who attempt to use Wikipedia to pursue or facilitate inappropriate adult–child relationships, who advocate inappropriate adult–child relationships on- or off-wiki (e.g. by expressing the view that inappropriate relationships are not harmful to children), or who identify themselves as pedophiles, will be blocked or banned indefinitely.[2]

Child editors who self-disclose personal identifiable information that exposes themselves as children by either posting their age, date of birth, or other information that one could reasonably assume that the editor is a child is removed by volunteer editors and typically suppressed from being viewable by editors and the public.


Users who seriously disrupt Wikipedia will typically be blocked from editing and may also be banned. Users who self-identify as children while projecting a sexually tinged persona, and disclose personal information such as links to sites devoted to social interaction are engaging in disruptive behavior and will typically be blocked from editing and may also be banned.[3] Note that self-identified children may in fact be adults posing as children for a variety of reasons.

Handling and reporting issuesEdit

Personal identifiable information that is self-disclosed on Wikipedia by apparent children should be removed and reported privately to an Oversighter or the Oversight email group to be suppressed. The user should be notified of the removal, discouraged from disclosing such personal information about themselves on Wikipedia in the future, explained as to why we remove this information and that it's for their privacy and safety, and advised about the potential risk of doing so.[3]

Reports of editors attempting to pursue or facilitate inappropriate adult–child relationships, or otherwise breaching trust and safety, should be made to the Wikimedia Foundation by email: Reports of issues concerning images should be sent to the same email address.[2]

Reports of threats of harm should be made to the Wikimedia Foundation emergency team by email:[4]

Reports of harassment or other behavioral disruption by other editors should be made by filing a report and starting a new discussion on the appropriate noticeboard for administrative review and action.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Child protection". Wikipedia. April 27, 2010. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Protecting children's privacy - Requests for Arbitration". Wikipedia. December 5, 2006. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  4. ^ "Responding to threats of harm". Wikipedia. October 9, 2007. Retrieved November 27, 2018.